There is a deluge of product information available for a pregnant couple, and as a first time pregnant couple, we didn’t even know what types of things we should be buying, much less which specific brands and models we should look at. Rather than researching everything individually, we decided to pick one overall book and stick with it, for better or worse.
The book we picked was called Baby Bargains. The book is organized as a big list of all the things you should consider buying and then for each item, the book discusses what to look for, how many you need, and which brands might be the best fit for you. While I’m sure you could take any one item and have a long argument about it with someone who likes a different brand better, we knew that following the book should lead us to a pretty good option.
Even with all that background, we still had a big task ahead of us. Our gift registries were carefully crafted as a list of items we thought we needed, so after the baby showers (THANK YOU!) we headed to Babies R Us and walked out with three carts full of stuff. The UPS man arrived later in the week with endless boxes that completed our Amazon registry. I’m sure there will be plenty of surprise trips to buy something we didn’t think of, but I feel like we have a pretty good start.
We did waffle a bit on our car seat decision. We started with the new Graco 40 which is supposed to hold a child up to 2 years/40 pounds. When we got it home, we discovered that it was too wide to fit in the middle seat and it was a couple pounds heavier than most carriers which seemed unnecessary. We ended up getting a slightly smaller Graco model which saved us quite a bit of money and also fit the car better. Only time will tell if it was a good decision. I’m sure we’ll have a lot stronger opinions about these purchases in a year!
We live in a high tech county. Facebook, Amazon, Google and Microsoft all have offices here and those are just a few of the names you’d recognize. It apparently trickles down into our library system. The more I look at the library, the more amazed I am!
A couple years ago, they enabled Kindle ebook checkouts. I’ve been a heavy user of that and it has worked fantastically well. We were also able to drop our Consumer Reports website subscription because the library gives us that for free. Tonight I was contemplating subscribing to a magazine when I decided to browse through the library. It turns out that they offer free access to a bunch of magazines through Zinio! (Zinio is an online digital magazine distributor.) Tyla is sitting on the couch laughing at me because I’m so excited about this.
The moral of the story is that if you haven’t been to your library in a while, be sure to check out what services they offer. You might be surprised!
P.S. The magazine I was looking for is called Family Handyman. I was given a couple free issues of the magazine and was very impressed. They’re full of great quick tips and project plans. Every issue I read gave me some good ideas. I’m pretty excited to get it for free through the library. I also signed up to receive Skiing, Popular Science, and Mental Floss. Who knows if I’ll have time to read them all, but who cares, it’s free!
P.P.S. “Free” in the context of this post of course means “you’re already paying for it with your taxes so you might as well make use of it.”
Hopefully by now you know that a 20 character password made up of just letters is stronger than a 6 character password that is uses symbols and numbers too. Length plays a key role in the strength of a password. Passphrases are a great way to make long passwords that are easy to remember. There’s a good article on the 1Password blog that made the excellent point that though a simple sentence is very long, it might not be as solid as you think. For example, if your pass phrase is “twinkle twinkle little star”, that’s a pretty obvious string of words to put together. The linked post has some good ideas for mixing up your passphrase so that it’s still easy to remember but much harder to guess. If you want to get truly random, they also mention a method of rolling dice to generate completely phrases with completely random words. Mix that in with a few random characters to avoid a straight dictionary attack and you’ve to a pretty solid password!
However you make your password, please make sure that it’s strong, you change it often, and you don’t use the same password on multiple sites. Or if you only want to remember one really good password, check out a tool like LastPass.
PS. If you haven’t read the comic referenced in the image above, here’s a link to the full strip.
Tyla and I have attempted a few home photo sessions to capture her big beautiful belly. You might have seen some of them on Facebook, but I thought I’d post them here too. The due date is less than 3 weeks away!
Looking for a book to read? I just finished the first book of the Kingkiller Chronicles and immediately started on the second one. It’s something like a cross between Harry Potter for adults, but that isn’t really fair to either series. Patrick Rothfuss is the author and he has spent a decade polishing these books and it really shows. The world is extremely intricate, but it’s not overwhelming. The story is engaging, but it’s easy to follow along. If you’re at all interested in the fantasy genre, check this out. And if fantasy isn’t your thing, don’t be put off by the sterotypes around the genre. While there is magic in the book, it’s used as a tool in the story, not as a main focus that keeps getting beat to death.
Leo Laporte interviewed the author on a recent episode of Triangulation. It gives a nice background into Patrick’s thought process behind the books. At the end they apparently start talking about the book, but they warn of major spoilers so I’m going to listen to that after I finish the second book. Hopefully it won’t be too much longer until book three launches because I know I’ll be itching to continue the story after I finish book two!
This past weekend, KenC, LoganB, AndyD, TimS and I headed east of the mountains to spend a day shooting guns. While there are laws governing what you can do on federal land, it’s pretty easy to find a safe and legal place to shoot. Ken had already scoped out a good spot so we loaded up a couple trucks and headed east. We ended up down a dirt road with no sign of humans as far as the eye could see (except for some trash left by previous shooters.)
The temps were in the low 90s that day, but we were all having too much fun to notice. Ken and Logan each brought about a dozen guns. Tim and I brought our shotguns and Andy was there pulling the trigger for the first time. It was a lot of fun going through gun after gun that I’ve never heard of before, much less had a chance to shoot. We went through everything from handguns to rifles to shotguns blowing up plastic jugs full of water, paper targets, a couple hundred clay pigeons and even a few jars of Tannerite that Ken mixed. Combine all that with some hot dogs on the grill and it was a fantastic day!
I’m in the market for a new gun so trying out all those guns was a big help. But even with all the new options, I spent a ton of time with my little Remington 870 shotgun. I put about 175 rounds through that shotgun! Thanks to everyone who was throwing clays and shaken up pop cans into the air for me to shoot! I even pulled off a trick shot that I saw on the web: start with a target in your right hand and the shotgun in your left, throw the target up, mount the gun and hit the target before it hits the ground.
I think we’re all eager to head back again, but we’ll have to spend some time collecting more ammo and that’s no small feat these days. Ammo is scarce and expensive. At some point this run on ammo will probably end and then the market can return to normal.
Below you can find a video and some photos. The first clips in the video were shot with a GoPro running at 120fps and slowed down to 30fps. The end is a couple of our shots at the exploding Tannerite.
For the last couple weeks, I’ve been painting doors. The closet doors for the nursery were stored up in the rafters of the garage when we bought the house and they were all scratched up. The door to the nursery had a bunch of screw holes in the back of it and then we also didn’t pay the contractor to do any painting when they worked on our bathroom so the new door was unpainted.
All four of those doors are now painted and installed. Looking back at the project, I can see how a paint sprayer would have been a big bonus, but I got by with paint brushes and rollers. My strategy was to use a brush for the inset parts of the six panel door, roll over the rest of the door, and then use the brush to take the texture out of the rolled areas. I started each door with a coat of Kilz primer and then added one coat of white paint. If you try this, remember to check the angled areas of the inset panels on each door. They can collect paint globs.
I’m not 100% thrilled with the end result. We have two different types and colors of white trim in the house so these doors only match half of that, but it’s the best I could do without tackling all the trim as well. And there’s no way I have time to do that monster project right now!
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